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Accountancy Age: Angry shareholders may sue Shell over tax bill: Monday 01 Nov 2005

 

UK shareholders are considering suing Shell over tax bill of more than 77m from restructuring

 

Royal Dutch Petroleum may be sued by more than 1000 British shareholders who control at least 100m-worth of shares, as they attempt to claw back some of the multimillion-pound tax bill caused by the restructuring of the oil and gas giant.

 

Shell was criticised for its plan to create a 130bn company called Royal Dutch Shell, when 3,000 UK share holders in Royal Dutch Petroleum discovered they were to be hit with a 77m capital gains tax bill.

 

A majority of shareholders accepted the terms of the restructuring, but a vocal minority refused and were rewarded with the promise of a tax-efficient loan note from Shell.

 

According to the Daily Telegraph, the investors have formed a working group to examine their options and legal action against Shell is being considered. The newspaper reports that a City law firm has been retained to provide advice and will report to the group within a fortnight.

 

Angela Knight, chief executive of the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers, was reported as saying that the investors simply wanted their tax bill paid by Shell. 'What most people would like is for Shell to make a similar financial gesture that is reasonable,' she said.

 

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